The Chaotic Waterwheel of Life

In recent exchanges of inbox messages with Laura Donnelly, she directed me to her website. I am amazed by the quality of topics and interviews that Laura entertains.

What caught my attention right away was reading this;

Healing is a journey.
It is also like a wheel.

The outer rim is life in the world.

The spokes are paths to healing, to

The Center

–our true nature”

I imagined the center as the goal that we set and the spokes are the paths to the center. The rim of life could be smooth, lumpy, thorny, spiky, and injuring. The more we experience life and the more we learn while moving along the spokes to reaching our goal, the more the rim shall be smoother and more polished.

My imagination expanded my curiosity. I remembered The Malkus waterwheel, also referred to as the Lorenz waterwheel or chaotic waterwheel. If you watch the video below, you shall observe the chaotic rotation of the wheel.

If you want to discover more, the following video is a great source for you;

The wheel hangs small buckets with drainage holes cut out of the bottom. Fixed directly above the center of the wheel is a faucet connected to a pump. Opening the pump water flows and fills the buckets with some water leaking out from the holes in their bottoms.

The rotations of the wheels start smoothly in one direction. He represents the rotation of our simple lives. They are predictable and subject to the cause-and-effect relationship.

Soon, we lose this simplicity of life. The wheels of our lives once filled rotate chaotically and unpredictably from one direction to its opposite and go faster and suddenly slow down or even stop.

The wheels of life

The analogy between the waterwheel and the wheel of our lives does not stop there. Our barrels of life are more complex. We do not fill them with the same quality of water. The buckets hanging on the wheels are the hardware (our brains) and water is the software (our minds). The water is also the information and emotions that fills our buckets.

Some information is toxic and acidic. Soon the buckets corrode and leak. Our lives become more chaotic.

More questions started flowing in my mind and I feel it is running chaotically. These questions include:

When we move out of the center of our balance is it the same as what happens to the waterwheel? The latter changes its trajectories considerably with the slightest shift from its center. I expect our brains to rotate in very different paths if we shift our attention from what Laura described as “center of our nature”. Are we living in the age of shifting our lives’ centers and making them very unpredictable? Is this what we encounter today?

Are we experiencing The Zapruder Effect and requires that when the wheel of life rotates fast we need to slow down? Are the wheels of our brains processing at much higher speeds than usual, giving the impression that things going around us are happening much slower? Are these the times to slow down and stop filling the buckets with more information?

Are the buckets similar like they are in a waterwheel? They are not because our brains are having different comprehension capacities.

More questions are still flowing in my mind.

Does information leak or is it viscous and sticks in the rugged brains? Does information evaporate from the buckets of our minds?

Are the quality of information and quality of water relevant? Do we talk about polluted and corrosive information as water can be?

Susan LePlae Miller wrote recently when they are constantly filling their mind… Yes, filling with what is the question and how chaotic this filling could cause to the rotating wheels of our lives? The waterwheel is a metaphor for the complexity of our lives.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. I believe that to feel good we need to have the right balance in the various areas of our life that involve us (work, family, finances, health, etc.) and evaluate which ones deserve more attention.
    In reality, we tend to take care of some aspects, leaving out others and, this obviously leads to being in imbalance and perpetually dissatisfied even if some areas of life are definitely good. We do little or nothing to change things because we are afraid, afraid of leaving our comfort zone, of abandoning the certain for the uncertain. What we know is extremely reassuring for our mind, we are able to be in situations that make us suffer only because we are used to it and any change would mean breaking some false balance and facing uncertainty.
    So in order not to face what should be faced, let’s use a tool extraordinarily within everyone’s reach: apologies!
    Instead life is a continuous evolution. It cannot be static, it is a dynamic reality. A wonderful adventure to live if we don’t want to run the risk of “corroding ourselves”!